Taste of the fall with a gingerbread-apple bar dessert

Yankee Chef logoBy Jim Bailey

Many things set this recipe apart from every other bar treat. I took the memory of the age-old charlotte dessert and combined it with the taste of gingerbread.

Apples and cheddar cheese transformed this great treat into a true New England dessert. Use stale bread if you like, but you will find that the bread topping is crispier than any streusel you can make. There is a deliciously comforting taste of our northeast heritage in every bite.

Apple and cheddar make this streusel a New England classic.

Apple and cheddar make this streusel a New England classic.

8 slices white or whole wheat bread
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 cup maple syrup or honey, divided
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried ginger
3 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, extra sharp

Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. Dice bread into very small cubes, less than the size of peas. Add to a large bowl along with melted butter, 1/2 cup maple syrup and molasses. Toss so all bread cubes are moistened. Add brown sugar and ginger, tossing to incorporate well, then set aside.

In another bowl, toss the apple slices with granulated sugar, flour and cinnamon until the apples are well-coated with the flour. Add remainder of maple syrup and cheddar cheese, tossing to blend well.

Spread half the bread mixture on the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Lightly pack down. Top with seasoned apple slices, spreading out evenly. Top with remaining bread crumb mixture, but don’t tamp down. Bake 35 to 40 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven, or until the top is  crisp and browned. Remove and serve warm with ice cream or cool completely before cutting into bars.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.setssss

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at theyankeechef@aol.com.

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